The weather was perfect for this years aquatic camp which is hosted by the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center and the Great Bend Recreation Center.
Children of all ages met at the Great Bend Recreation Center and then bussed out to the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center. The children arrived around 9:45 a.m. to begin their day learning about different aquatic life found in ponds around the center.
The centers puts this program on for local children to get out and learn about life around them and enjoy the outdoors. The children not only learn about wildlife, but they also get to be with children of all ages and to have fun. There were approximately 25 children that came out to aquatic camp this year.
“We look for any opportunity to do this, its a huge benefit to the children,” Education Director Jean Aycock, said.
The day started with a 20 minute class taught by Pam Martin, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Educator. The children got to learn about different species of aquatic life that they will find in the ponds, and in the world around them. They also got to see these species in specimen jars, that way they have an idea of what to look for. Before the children got to go outside, they were broken into groups by age and were led by different instructors.
“We get the kids outside and teach and show them what is in the world around them,” Martin said, “We also get to teach them about environmental quality as well.”
Once outside the children were given a safety briefing about snakes, and water safety. After the safety meeting the children were led to different parts of the pond and were allowed to use different types of equipment to catch the aquatic critters. The children were able to catch frogs, crayfish, dragon fly larvae, and other aquatic creatures with nets, strainers, and by hand.
This was the fifth year this aquatic camp has been hosted by the center, and in July the centers will host a Naturalist Camp. During the Naturalist camp the children will explore “Nature in Color” using items found in nature, the children will also get to learn about colors through experiments and observation.
The centers host these two camps every year, if your interested in these camps the Kansas Wetlands Education Center in located at 592 NE K-156 Highway, Great Bend, KS 67530 and can be reach at (877) 243-9268. The Great Bend Recreation Center is located at 1214 Stone St, Great Bend, KS 67530 and can be reached at (620) 793-6677.